Live-Cell Imaging Resources
One of the foremost targets in the life sciences is to understand the structure, function, and behavior of living organisms, and with evolving advances in technology, such as the development of confocal microscopy and fluorescent probes, it has become possible to pursue this goal at the cellular and subcellular levels. Still, working with and imaging live cells can be a complex, if not daunting, task to microscopists unfamiliar with the techniques and tools that are available. The following is a compilation of resources that offer overviews, background information, interactive forums, frequently asked questions, protocols, and hints that should aid any microscopist attempting to enter into this important, burgeoning field.
- Andor Technology - Andor Technology develops and manufactures products for scientific imaging and spectroscopy. The BioImaging Division of the company, which was greatly expanded by Andor's recent acquisition of Kinetic Imaging, offers a family of hardware and software especially designed for live cell confocal experiments.
- ATCC Global Bioresource Center - ATCC is a global nonprofit bioresource center that provides biological products, technical services, and educational programs to organizations around the world. Besides product and ordering details, the homepage includes an extensive array of technical information, such as FAQs on cell biology, bacteriology, and related topics, Material Safety Data Sheets for substances commonly utilized for live cell laboratory work, and descriptions of how to revive cultures.
- Cell Centered Database - The Cell Centered Database was designed by the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research to promote data sharing among scientists interested in cellular and subcellular anatomy and in developing computer algorithms for three-dimensional reconstruction and modeling of such data. Those who wish to utilize this innovative resource must agree to data sharing and citation policies through registration.
- Cell Imaging Shared Resource - A website made available by the Vanderbilt Medical Center, the Cell Imaging Shared Resource features a confocal gallery that contains many stunning images, as well as instructions, hints, and protocols for utilizing confocal instruments and digital cameras. Links to other web resources for confocal microscopy and digital imaging are also provided.
- Genomes to Life - Building on the success of the Human Genome Project, the Department of Energy has initiated the ambitious Genomes to Life program, which seeks to achieve a fundamental, comprehensive, and systematic understanding of life. Such an endeavor requires a thorough comprehension of the activities of cells and tissues, which, in turn, relies heavily upon imaging capabilities. The Project's website includes a general discussion of live cell imaging technologies and PDF files of related publications.
- Northwestern University Cell Imaging Facility - Information on upcoming cell imaging workshops, descriptions of hardware and software, recommended reading, and technical tips on immunofluorescence, tissue samples, emission crosstalk, and a host of other pertinent topics are featured on this website affiliated with Northwestern University.
- Plant Cell Imaging (Carnegie Institution of Washington) - This website presented by the Department of Plant Biology at the Carnegie Institution provides detailed information regarding the group's use of laser scanning confocal microscopy to visualize live plant cells. PDF files of relevant articles written by department members, descriptions of protocols and experiments, numerous sample images and videos, and links to related sites are just a few of the site's main features.
- Salmon Lab Homepage - Established by the Department of Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this site includes wide-ranging information on live cell protocols, some of which is specifically related to certain subjects, such as preparation of rat liver cytosol and tissue culture of PtK1 cells. Related web links and a collection of live cell videos created in the lab are also featured.
- Science Magazine Special Issue: Biological Imaging - The April 2003 special issue of Science magazine offers a plethora of information about live cell imaging. A few of the many topics covered are the latest techniques in the field, development and usage of fluorescent protein markers, and the ways in which modern imaging has changed the way scientists think about the fundamentals of life.
Sciencealso offers a special web supplement to the issue, which includes a bioimaging slide show and Internet links to websites containing related information.
- Spector Lab Homepage - Stunning live cell images and videos, a research summary, and protocols for immunofluorescence, in situ hybridization, and a variety of other laboratory activities are provided on the Spector Lab Homepage. The laboratory, which is headed by David Spector, is part of the prestigious Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory research and educational institution in New York.
- Web Atlas of Cellular Structures Using Light and Confocal Microscopy - The Web Atlas was created by Sheela Konda, Steve Rogers, and Daniel E. Weber as an education resource for those interested in cytology. Visitors may enjoy browsing the extensive collection of images or obtain more technical information by exploring the protocols utilized to capture the images, as well as reports on specimen preparation, microscopy methods, and tissue culture.